Clostridium Difficile is a serious nosocomial infection (contracted in a health care setting). It is not a notifiable disease.
The Minister for Health, Mary Harney thinks it should be a notifiable disease, as she informed the media recently.
Her comment implies that she has nothing to do with the matter.
The making of a statutory instrument would be required to make it notifiable. It would be signed by her.
She did not inform the media that she intended to ensure it became a notifiable disease. In her conversation with the media she furnished statistics (records actually) of the incidence of Clostridium Difficile infection in Irish hospitals. These figures cannot be reliable to the degree that they would be if the disease was notifiable. She then went on to favourably contrast the rate of Clostridium Difficile infection in Irish hospitals with the rate in British hospitals.
Surely, in the absence of accurate figures, the comparisons are misplaced?
They are particularly misplaced by the Ministerâs attribution of the cause of the spread of Clostridium Difficile to the âoverprescribing of antibioticsâ?.
On 9th October 2007 the results of an audit of Irish hospitals showed that the decontamination units in Irish hospitals suffered from poor practices and inadequate facilities for the units.
The units decontaminate, clean, disinfect and sterilize reusable medical devices. Without proper cleaning the device will transmit an infection from one patient to another.
Thatâs the kind of situation that would explain the incidence of Clostridium Difficile in Irish hospitals. The Dublin County coroner, Dr. Kieran Geraghty, recently criticised infection cocontrol policies in St Columcilleâs Hospital in Loughlinstown when he found that three patients contracted nosocomial infections there, including Clostridium Difficile.
Unlike the Minister, he avoided musings about âoverprescribing of antibioticsâ?, presumably being more interested in proximate causes and practical steps to avoid the deaths of patients.